NDoW opposes killing of predators says habitat is the issue.
There is a battle raging in Nevada about predator control under the guise of helping deer and sage grouse. As it turns out the problem isn’t about predators but about habitat quality. For years the BLM and the ranchers have colluded in an effort to make more grass available to livestock under the guise of “habitat improvement projects” which destroy piñon/juniper forests and sagebrush needed for cover while ignoring the fact that overgrazing has eliminated essential grasses from vast areas of the landscape and greatly impacted valuable bitterbrush.
When one looks at grazing permit renewal documents from the Nevada BLM, the habitat needs of wildlife are given only cursory analysis and the BLM always makes sure that when there are problems there are never any real cuts in AUMs but only what are commonly referred to as paper cuts, or animals that aren’t really grazed. Utilization standards often allow for utilization of native perennial grasses and shrubs or half shrubs of 50% which, as with the case of blue bunch wheatgrass, often kills the plants or greatly hinders their vigor in these arid environments.
Back in December came news that mountain lions, coyotes, badgers, skunks and ravens would all be targeted in an effort to improve deer and sage grouse survival using $866,000 from the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Heritage fund. The money would have been used to fund operations of Wildlife Services. Since then Nevada Department of Wildlife has come out in opposition saying that these issues revolve around habitat issues rather than predators and that the science doesn’t justify the wanton killing of predators.
Tony Wasley, NDOW mule deer specialist, said controlling predators won’t stop the disappearance of the sagebrush-covered terrain that deer depend on in Nevada and much of the West.
“We’re talking about a landscape-scale phenomenon here,” Wasley said. “The population is limited by habitat.”
Where there is insufficient habitat, “all the predator control in the world won’t result in any benefit,” Wasley said.
Feds, Nevada officials clash over deer predator control
Reno Gazette Journal